Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease and Medical Advisor to the White House confirmed on Tuesday that the U.S. is seeing a rise in COVID hospitalizations, but this time among vaccinated individuals. The 80 year old health authority claimed that the rise in hospitalizations is because the vaccinated have not gotten their third or booster shot of the vaccine.
"What we're starting to see now is an uptick in hospitalizations among people who've been vaccinated but not boosted," Dr. Fauci explained on Tuesday, as reported by Fox News. "It's a significant proportion, but not the majority by any means."
During a White House COVID Response Team briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Fauci underscored once again the importance of vaccines in protecting from COVID, highlighting its efficiency in doing so. He lamented that there are about 62 million Americans who remain unvaccinated despite being eligible to get the jab. He insisted, "The data that I show you do not lie. Vaccines protect you, your family, and your community."
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky echoed Dr. Fauci's statements, saying that the agency is also "seeing an increase in emergency department visits among adults age 65 and older, which are now again higher than they are for younger age groups."
Dr. Walensky reported that based on new data from the National Healthcare Safety Network that analyzed data from COVID cases in long-term care facilities, booster shots of the vaccine were working. She added that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still in the process of "evaluating data on the authorization of booster doses for all people over age 18."
Dr. Fauci said that despite the uptick in COVID hospitalizations among the vaccinated, majority of COVID hospitalizations and deaths are still among those who remain unvaccinated. Dr. Walensky added that based on studies, "those who are unvaccinated continue to be more likely to be infected, more likely to be in the hospital and more likely to have severe complications from Covid-19," NBC News reported.
Meanwhile, health authorities are moving goalposts once more by redefining what it means to be "fully vaccinated." Dr. Fauci expressed his support for a rollout of a third vaccine dose, saying that "as an immunologist and infectious disease person," he believed that "a third shot boost for an mRNA is likely-should be part of the actual standard regimen."
According to 7 News, in other parts of the world, the meaning of being "fully vaccinated" against COVID is starting to change. On Monday, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed support for introducing booster COVID shots to the regimen. In France, it is now mandatory for those aged 65 and above to get a third dose by December 15 to ensure their vaccination pass remains valid, President Emmanuel Macron announced last week.
In Austria, citizens' "fully vaccinated" status expires nine months following their second dose, which means that they have to get a third to stay "fully vaccinated." Similarly in Israel, green pass or vaccine passport holders are only eligible to enter gyms, restaurants, and other public venues if their second dose was within the last six month, or else they need a third booster shot.